Visibility of Value – Testing Within the Organization

Consider the last time the testing group was involved from the beginning of a project, had an influential voice in the development of the project plan, was able to hire for test planning, and was treated as a strategic competitive differentiator by the company.

Each of the aforementioned items is related to the organization’s perceived value of the testing group. Not only must the testing group be concerned with knowing and performing the activities of software testing to a high standard, but it must also understand how it should participate within the larger activities and priorities of the organization, making visible the value the testing group delivers in that regard.

Testing is typically a substantial portion of any software project, but it is still often an afterthought in many organizations where the testing group is an unequal stakeholder with respect to budget, resources and project planning.

While it is true that the degree of quality doesn’t directly impact market share, the lack of quality, competitively, will certainly have an adverse impact on reputation and revenues.

Investing in testing is expected to help to increase product quality, increase customer satisfaction, and improve the overall organizational profitability. Testing is part of a set of risk mitigation activities where the basic principle is to spend money wisely now in order to avoid greater costs later. Each organization and even each project must find the optimal mix of investment in upfront activities versus potential costs of inefficiency or failures later to minimize the Total Cost of Quality.

Perhaps the most important goal for a testing group within any organization is to move from the perception of being a cost center to being an effective and efficient cost-optimization center. This goal can be readily achieved through making visible the impact and value of the risk mitigation efforts of the testing group to the key stakeholders of each project and across the organization for review and improvement.

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About Trevor Atkins

Trevor Atkins (@thinktesting) has been involved in 100’s of software projects over the last 20+ years and has a demonstrated track record of achieving rapid ROI for his customers and their business. Experienced in all project roles, Trevor’s primary focus has been on planning and execution of projects and improvement of the same, so as to optimize quality versus constraints for the business. LinkedIn Profile
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